New program aims to help dementia patients in Lee County

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Helping Southwest Florida serve dementia patients: A new program unveiled in Lee County could help you and your family.

“With dementia, it’s personal for me,” said Therese Everly. “I lost my father last year to dementia.”

Everly knows what it’s like to care for someone she loves who is living with dementia in Lee County.

“We would often want to take him out and go to a restaurant,” Everly said. “Sometimes it was hard to find a place where we’d be comfortable.”

She said it was a challenge, but a new program from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs aims to fix that problem.

The Fort Myers Fire Department is the first organization in Southwest Florida to complete the new training.

“We go on about 18,000 calls a year, and we’re problem solvers,” said Chief John Caufield.

Caufield has firsthand experience working with dementia patients professionally and personally.

“We have memory issues in my family, so it’s an issue that’s near and dear to my heart,” Caufield said.

Once the business or organization is trained, they get a decal they can put in fron of their business letting customers know they’re prepared should an issue arise.

“This helps seniors on multiple levels,” Everly said.

With more training, they hope to put more decals in places like banks and restaurants, making Lee County a better, safer place to live with dementia.

“I am incredibly inspired by this effort, incredibly inspired,” Everly said.

Inspired to help thousands of people who will eventually be affected in Southwest Florida.

Click here for more information on getting involved.

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